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Car Heating and Air Conditioning
The weather in Ottawa can be unpredictable. From frigid temperatures in the winter to high humidity during the summer, we often take our car heating and air conditioning systems for granted. When they stop working, your once climate-controlled cabin becomes an uncomfortable vessel.
Common Car Heating and Air Conditioning Problems
It’s usually obvious when your car’s heating and air conditioning isn’t working properly. Either your AC isn’t blowing cold air or your heater isn’t warming up your vehicle. Regardless of which system isn’t working, it can be difficult to know exactly what is causing the issue. Here are some common issues your car’s heating and air conditioning system can experience.
System Recharge: You may have heard about getting your heating and air conditioning systems recharged. With the amount of seals and hoses involved in keeping your cabin temperature comfortable, it’s impossible to expect both systems to last forever. A worn out gasket or hose can lead to a refrigerant leak which can affect how your vehicle’s AC performs. A recharge fills your vehicles cooling system with more refrigerant, but it is best to have your vehicle examined as a recharge won’t fix the problem if there’s a leak.
Faulty Core: When it comes to car heating, knowing when you have a failure can be crucial. Given that your car’s heater operates on the same system as the engine coolant, a fault in one system can indicate a fault in the other. If you notice a strong odor or leaking antifreeze, chances are your heater core is faulty. Excess fogging when your system it set to defog is another symptom of a faulty heater core.
When you suspect an issue, have your heating and cooling systems inspected to permanent engine or system damage.
How Car Heating and Air Conditioning Systems Work
Modern vehicle climate control works using a compressor and a series of coils. Compressed refrigerant is heated up and moved to a coil near the front of the engine which causes the refrigerant to cool. The refrigerant is then moved and expanded near the cabin of the vehicle. Heating is done in a very similar way only instead of refrigerant being compressed and expanded, coolant from the vehicle’s engine is delivered to a radiator near the passenger cabin, passing air and warming it up.
A Look Back at The History of Car Heating and Air Conditioning
Vehicles took quite some time to gain the modern luxury of heating and air conditioning. It wasn’t until the 1930s that the Packard Motor Car Company introduced the first Weather Conditioners into their vehicles as an aftermarket conversion. These early systems were not without their own flaws. The early Packard Weather Conditioners took up half a vehicle’s trunk, had no true thermostat options, created several feet of unreliable plumbing between the trunk and the engine, and was very expensive at the time.
Today, vehicle climate control is a standard option on most new vehicles. Using a system contained entirely in the engine bay, you have the option to quickly heat or cool your vehicle’s cabin and windows. In some vehicles, heated seats, steering wheel, and mirrors are also available.